NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Let it Ride
by Dennis Ranahan

When you have all but one position won on a parlay card and have an opportunity to buy off that last choice; do you do it?

For example, I have a five team parlay card that has been filled in with four winners so far on Thursday and Sunday results, and has the Tennessee Titans (+4) over the Houston Texans as the last win needed to collect on a 20 to 1 shot.

Knowing a win by “your” team would bring a windfall of profits, do you buy back some of your original bet? Perhaps at least the cost of the parlay card so you can’t lose, or even a little more up to one-half your winning return if you complete the parlay sweep?

With one strategy, you could guarantee your profit margin at nearly 10-1 of the original investment, simply by wagering on “your” original pick's opponent.

Like anything, I suggest the right answer to buying off a parlay to guarantee profits or let it ride for maximum gains, is subservient to the specific circumstances governing that decision. I have already faced this dilemma twice this year, carrying a six team parlay card into the Monday night game when the first five teams on the card won Sunday.

The first time it happened this season was when the New Orleans Saints hosted the Washington Redskins to close out fifth week action. I had Washington (+5½) on the card, but had realized since making that wager that the Saints had a huge advantage in this one. Drew Brees was poised to pass Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for the top spot in passing yards for a career, and the New Orleans Superdome was going to be electric.

I bought half my bet back, was even tempted to put it all on the Saints and win big or break even on the other side of the game. The Saints won easy, 43-19, and I was happy to collect my final wager while seeing the parlay fail on the last rung.

The second time this season I was faced with the buy-back question was on October 22, when the Atlanta Falcons hosted the New York Giants. My six team parlay card had the Falcons (-4) for the last game needed to sweep six decisions.

This one was a lot tougher to decide. I liked the Falcons in this game, although the point spread move late eliminated it as a money rated play for clients. I ended up buying about a fourth of the wager back, and had a smaller than expected payday when the Giants scored late to clip the point spread, losing by three, 23-20, while getting four points on the line.

Tonight, real time, help me decide here.

I’ve got the Titans (+4) to close out a five team parlay.

Their opponent, the Houston Texans, are at home, have a better record, and are arguably the better team. Statistics would suggest so.

What I have on my side with the Titans is a team in a must win situation off a loss beginning play tonight two back of a first place division opponent.

The week began without a line being posted on this game with questions surrounding Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota. He had injured his elbow during a season opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, and reinjured his arm during last week’s loss to the Colts in Indianapolis. At first, it was thought to be related to the previous elbow injury, but was later diagnosed as a separate incident and categorized as a stinger.

His availability was confirmed when the books released the point spread on this game midweek, first with the Texans favored by six points, a number that was initially bet up to 6½ points, before dropping to as low as 3½ points as Mariota’s condition continued to improve.

What we have tonight is a Texans team looking to extend a winning streak to eight games. In doing so, they would increase their AFC South Division lead over Tennessee to three games while keeping the Colts, winners yesterday over the Miami Dolphins, two games back.

The Texans would love this game, but the Titans need this game.

As for tonight, why would I want to put any money on the losing side. I’ll take my chances at cashing the 20 to 1 shot and let it ride.

Qoxhi Picks: Tennessee Titans (+4) over Houston Texans